We believe that a downspout drainage systems can help you avoid water damage. If you want to make your downspout drain efficient, you will need to choose the right material.
A common question is whether PVC or corrugated pipe for downspouts is the better choice. This is the question we’re going to answer in this guide.
PVC is malleable, pressure-resistant, and has good water flow. It isn’t as durable or temperature-resistant as other materials, though. Corrugated pipes made from other materials might be more durable, flexible, and self-cleaning. They can also get clogged. Weighing up the pros and cons of both is important.
PVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride, is one of the most popular choices of material for downspouts. But, there are some situations where corrugated pipe is the better option.
Polyvinyl Chloride is resistant to pressure. This means that high water pressure from the inside of your PVC pipe should not cause damage. It’s also resistant to rust.
PVC is malleable. This means that it can bend into one shape or another. So, you should be able to find PVC downspout pipes in any size or shape you’re looking for.
This also means that weight pressing on the downspout shouldn’t cause it to break. In fact, compared to metal, PVC is even stronger.
PVC is smooth. This encourages easy water flow and minimizes clogging in your gutter system. That can prolong the durability of your downspout.
It will also protect your home from water damage. This is extremely important to keep your family safe and avoid large bills for repairs.
Note that PVC is also one of the more affordable choices for guttering. It’s a cheap building material that shouldn’t need replacing very often.
PVC-U is better for your health and the environment than other kinds of PVC. That’s because it doesn’t contain any plasticizers. Plus, it’s recyclable.
PVC-U is not as common in the United States as PVC, and the latter is much less eco-friendly.
It also might not be a good idea to install a PVC downspout if you live somewhere with a lot of temperature changes.
Because of PVC’s thermal expansion, dimensions can change. The pipe can get smaller or larger as the temperature rises and falls.
We’ve personally seen a lot of people have to replace their drainage pipes because temperature changes are causing problems. Always consider the climate where you live before you decide.
PVC is a good material for colorful guttering (it comes in different colors). Just bear in mind that sunlight can cause color changes.
Again, take your home climate into account before you choose.
Corrugated Downspout Pipes
Corrugated pipes come in a variety of metals. The word ‘corrugated’ means that the pipes have grooves and ridges. These allow for flexibility.
Corrugated pipes can be made from steel or iron. They can also be made from polyethylene or even PVC.
Corrugated pipes made from PVC will have all the benefits of PVC outlined above. They also have more flexibility.
This can be invaluable if you’re planning to install your downspout in an area that’s tricky to navigate.
Because of the flexibility, you also won’t need to use elbow joints. There’s no need to stick to right-angles or 45-degree turns.
The lack of elbow joints (which can sometimes come loose) makes them more waterproof.
Corrugated pipes are durable. Grooves in the pipes create a level of turbulence that allows them to self-clean thanks to the water flow.
Bear in mind that corrugated pipes are either single-wall or double-wall.
Single-wall corrugated pipes make for easy installation. They are also affordable. Double-wall pipes are smooth instead of ridged, which reduces clogging.
A downside of corrugated downspouts is that they can get clogged. This is likely unless you opt for double-wall corrugated pipes.
Ridged interiors are good for self-cleaning. But, this means that debris can get stuck and block your drainage system.
What About Aluminum Downspouts?
Many people believe that aluminum is the best material for gutters and downspouts.
There are good reasons for this opinion. Aluminum is cheap, easy to color-match, and can be seamless. This avoids leaking from the joints in your gutter or downspout.
That’s an issue we’ve received questions about many times, and aluminum can be a great solution.
Aluminum is also quite durable and rust-resistant despite being so lightweight. Yet, it’s not as durable as some other materials.
For example, corrugated iron is more wear-resistant than aluminum. If your number 1 priority for your downspout is wear-resistance, choose corrugated pipe.
Aluminum also doesn’t provide the same flexibility as a corrugated pipe or a pipe made of PVC.
To make twists and turns in an aluminum downspout, you would need to use elbow joints. These can loosen and cause leaks. Because of this, it’s best to avoid them if you can.
Besides, while aluminum doesn’t rust, it can corrode. You can avoid this by using aluminum oxide coating.
But, this is unlikely to protect the metal forever. It will get worn down over time, which isn’t an issue you would have with a PVC downspout.
Both PVC and corrugated pipes have their place in downspout drainage systems. Your choice should depend on location and functionality.
If malleability and affordability are your priorities, you should opt PVC. PVC pipes are also smooth on the inside, which reduces the risk of clogging.
The same is true of double-wall corrugated pipes. Single-wall corrugated pipes can lead to debris building up and blocking your drain.
But, single-wall corrugated pipes are good at self-cleaning for the most part. Other features of corrugated pipes can include durability and rust-resistance. That depends on the material, though.
There’s also the option of getting a downspout made from corrugated PVC. This is a good idea if you want the benefits of both materials.